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Unit Weighting                       

9 cps

Type of Unit                


Pre /Co-requisites         


Academic Staff            

The Very Revd Professor John Behr.

Co-ordinator and Local On-Campus Teaching Staff            

Revd Anastasios Bozikis

Curriculum Objectives

The graduate course unit will explore the pressing question of anthropology: what is it to be human? It will do so by focusing primarily on the three most important Fathers for this topic: Irenaeus of Lyons, Gregory of Nyssa and Maximus the Confessor. In reading through their texts very carefully, their writings will be brought into dialogue with Scripture and contemporary reflection. 

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an insightful understanding of selected Fathers from the viewpoint of their significance for Christian anthropology;
  2. Read critically their texts with understanding, paying particular attention to genre, historical context and theological contribution;
  3. Critically evaluate the theological literature relevant to this unit;
  4. Appreciate the theological issues discussed during this period;
  5. Critically apply their writings to our contemporary context.


  1.  The life and times of the Fathers under examination;
  2.  Historical, theological and cultural context
  3.  Main contributions
  4.  Traditional reception
  5.  Contribution to contemporary scholarship 

Assessment Profile

  1. Show a capacity to critically engage the relevant literature (e.g. text analysis)
  2. Demonstrate an awareness of the main trends and themes in patristic tradition (eg. Essay)
  3. Assess the significance of various trends and themes for today (eg. Take home exam) 

Compulsory residential component from August 17th to 20th, followed by fortnightly class which can be undertaken face to face or online.